Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance and COVID-19

In October 2016, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed the Cook County Earned Sick Leave (ESL) Ordinance. The Ordinance went into effect on July 1, 2017 and requires Covered Employers to provide Covered Employees with job protected compensated leave for specified permissible uses.

Am I a Covered Employer?

If you are a non-governmental employer with at least one employee and one place of business in Cook County, you are probably a Covered Employer. See ESL Regulations § 320.100.

Am I a Covered Employee?

If you are a non-governmental employee that performs compensated work while physically present in Cook County, you are probably a Covered Employee.

Employees working under a bona fide collective bargaining agreement that was entered into prior to July 1, 2017 are not covered. Employees who have waived their rights to ESL under a bona fide collective bargaining agreement that was entered into after July 1, 2017 are also not covered. See ESL Regulations §310.100.

If I am a Covered Employee, What Types of Situations Can I Use ESL for?

· the Covered Employee’s place of business is closed by order of a federal, state or local government public official (including a school district official) due to what the public official characterizes as a public health emergency;

· the Covered Employee’s child’s school or place of care has been closed by order of a federal, state or local government public official (including a school district official) due to what the public official characterizes as a public health emergency and the Covered Employee needs to provide care for the child;

· the Covered Employee is physically or mentally ill or injured;

· the Covered Employee is receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis or preventative medical care or recuperating from the same;

· the Covered Employee is the victim of domestic violence as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986;

· the Covered Employee is a victim of sexual violence of stalking as defined in Article 11, and Sections 12-7.3, 12- 7.4 and 12-7.5 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012;

· the Covered Employee’s Family Member is physically or mentally ill or injured;

· the Covered Employee’s Family Member is receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis or preventative medical care or recuperating from the same;

· the Covered Employee’s Family Member is the victim of domestic violence as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986; or

· the Covered Employee’s Family Member is a victim of sexual violence or stalking as defined in Article 11, and Sections 12-7.3, 12-7.4 and 12-7.5 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012.

I’ve Been Placed on “Furlough,” but I’m Still Technically on the Payroll. Am I eligible for ESL?

Probably not, unless your company’s policy provides for ESL or ESL equivalent use during a furlough.

Are Part-Time Workers Covered Under the County’s ESL Ordinance?

Yes. Part-time workers that have worked at least 2 hours during any two-week period may accrue ESL.

How Much ESL Do I Have and When Can I Use It?

A Covered Employee begins to accrue ESL after working at least 2 hours during any two-week period. See ESL Regulations, § 310.100.

Covered Employees accrue one-hour of ESL for 40 hours worked. ESL only accrues in hourly increments; there are no fractional accruals. See ESL Ordinance § 42-3(b)(2).

However, an employee cannot use any accrued ESL unless the employee also worked for the Covered Employer for at least 80 hours during any 120-day period. See ESL Regulations, § 310.300(B).

May I Carryover ESL from One Year to the Next?

Yes. At a minimum, Covered Employees may carryover 20 hours of unused accrued ESL. The maximum amount of unused accrued ESL that may be carried over from the end of one accrual period to the start of the next varies depending on whether the Covered Employer is FMLA-Eligible or Non-FMLA- Eligible. See ESL Regulations § 400.600.

Does the Cook County ESL Ordinance Apply to Employers and Employees Working in the City of Chicago?

To the extent that an employee and employer are both located in the City of Chicago, enforcement of earned sick leave obligations lies with the City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (“BACP”) under the City of Chicago’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. See ESL Regulations, § 1010.100.

Am I Eligible for ESL if my Suburban City or Village has Opted-Out of the County’s ESL Ordinance?

If an employer and an employee are both located in a suburban municipality that has lawfully opted-out of the Ordinance, the employer has no earned sick leave obligations to its employee under the Cook County ESL Ordinance. See ESL Regulations, §§ 310.100(C), 310.300(A), 320.100(B), 400.200(C). However not every municipality that has purported to opt-out of the Ordinance has lawfully done so. For example, non-home rule cities or villages may lack the authority to opt-out of the County’s ESL Ordinance.